nemoptic We know of e-paper (or e-ink) technology as the driving force behind the Sony, Kindle, Nook, and a number of other e-book readers. But as Technology Review points out, books are just one use of normal paper that e-paper could replace.

For example, Nemoptic has created miniature e-paper displays intended to replace grocery shelf price labels. If you’ve been to a grocery store, and almost everybody has, it should only take a moment’s thought to realize how much work this could save.

Any given grocery store will have literally thousands of shelf labels in use at any given time, and when prices change the labels also have to be changed—and then there are sales where shelf prices have to be replaced by temporary tape-over discount labels. It’s easy to see how much simpler it would be if the labels could be affixed permanently and changed from a central computer.

And of course grocery stores aren’t the only place that such labels could be useful. Anywhere that has changeable inventory of any kind to keep track of could see a benefit. Libraries, video rental places (if they’re still around by the time Netflix and Redbox get done with them), vending machines…the possibilities are endless.

Nemoptics has some impressive video demos of its e-ink technology on display at YouTube, including the ability to change images in 30 milliseconds with no “refresh flash”, and to change only part of the image, leaving the rest alone, to save power. The videos are embedded below the jump.


  1. Ah… progress. Wonderful stuff. Just think of how many man-hours this’ll save Wal-mart.

    And think of how much money this will save Wal-mart when they lay off all the unskilled labor making minimum wage (to feed their starving children) keeping all of those shelf labels up-to-date.

    Ah… progress…

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail